Reeling in a tarpon, Homosassa, Florida
Many people love fishing for tarpon—the flies used to catch them are small, the waters where they swim aren't deep, and they are enormous. The biggest specimen ever caught was around 300 pounds, but catching one requires endurance. These fish are great leapers, and famous for putting up a good fight.
Lower Skagit River, Washington
The Skagit River, which flows from British Columbia through Washington State and empties into the Puget Sound, is the only large river in Washington with healthy populations of five types of salmon (chinook, coho, chum, pink, sockeye) and two kinds of trout (steelhead and coastal cutthroat). Every year from May to December up to one million salmon swim the Skagit to spawn. The biggest variety is the chinook, or king salmon; one can weigh up to 125 pounds.
Lower Dean River, British Columbia, Canada
The Dean River boasts the finest summer run of steelhead trout (a form of rainbow trout) in the world, from around mid-June to October. While steelhead populations are declining and even endangered in parts of the United States, the feisty fish are thriving in British Columbia. Not as big as their fellow chinook, the trout max out at about 55 pounds.
Grassy flats, Northern Florida
Fishing in Florida's shallow flats is not as well known as the state's deep-sea fishing, but the schools are plentiful and it can be more relaxing. Although the fish are swimming year-round, prime season in northern Florida is June through September. Expect to catch redfish, sea trout, flounder, and tarpon.
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Brenton Reef, Rhode Island
Brenton Reef is one of the top spots in New England for landing the biggest striped bass, but people can also catch eels, bonito, fluke, tautog, and bluefish in this spot off Newport. It was recently a runner-up on Field & Stream's list of the next best places to hunt and fish in the United States. Fishing season starts in April and lasts through October.
Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
Northern California's Humboldt Bay contains 100 species of fish (and Dungeness crab), and it's also the leading producer of oysters on the West Coast. Fishing is available year round, although there are different seasons for halibut, salmon, rockfish, lingcod, and shark. Local business Englund Marine & Industrial Supply holds an annual big halibut and big salmon contests, with halibut winners exceeding 110 pounds.